Wake Forest, NC State advance in ACC Men's Soccer Championship
Nov. 11, 2009
CARY, N.C. – The No. 1 seed in the Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Soccer Tournament survived and advanced in Wednesday night’s quarterfinal action.
The No. 2 seed wasn’t as fortunate.
Top-seeded Wake Forest engaged in a battle with ninth-seeded Clemson for a half, but a pair of goals by freshman Andy Lubahn opened the door for a 3-0 win.
Second-seeded North Carolina and seventh-seeded NC State locked in a scoreless duel for the full 90 minutes of regulation and two overtimes. But the penalty kick shootout belonged to NC State, which prevailed by a 4-1 margin with the help of three key saves by keeper Christopher Widman.
The semifinal bracket is now set for Friday at WakeMed Soccer Park. Wake Forest (14-3-2) will face fifth-seeded Virginia (13-3-2) at 5:30 p.m., while NC State (12-5-2) will meet third-seeded Boston College (12-7) at 8 p.m.
#1 Wake Forest , #9
Clemson The first half ended in a scoreless tie, despite Wake holding a 12-3 edge in shots on goal. Five of those shots were taken by All-ACC forward Zack Schilawski, including three on goal, but steady play by Clemson goalkeeper Joseph Bendik (four saves) kept the Tigers in it.
The Demon Deacons got on the board less than three minutes into the second half, as Lubahn took a pass from Corben Bone and drove a shot to Bendik’s left that found its mark.
Lubahn came back with his second goal with 27:07 remaining, as passes from Austin da Luz and Schilawski set up the freshman midfielder’s back-heeler from six yards out. Just a little over two minutes later, sophomore Luke Norman connected on a 25-yarder tat found the right corner and gave the Demon Deacons a 3-0 lead that held up until the end.
Clemson ended its season at 6-12-1.
“It’s difficult, I think you go into tournament play where when you lose you’re eliminated and I think Clemson had a little bit going on in the beginning,” Wake coach Jay Vidovich said. “They had already won a game and they got to feel what its like. It took us a while to set up the game, and I think after getting the first goal we felt that we could finish the rest of the game.”
#2 North Carolina, #7 NC State
Overtime followed a final, frantic minute of regulation that saw both North Carolina’s Enzo Martinez and NC State’s Kris Byrd just miss on good looks at the goal. Martinez lined an open shot from about 15 yards out high, and Byrd’s attempt from the left wing was deflected.
The Wolfpack’s Chandler Knox stopped more hearts less than a minute into the first overtime, when his high shot grazed off the upper crossbar. North Carolina’s Alex Dixon countered with a running shot from the right side on a break, but Widman made a sliding stop.
“I feel that Chris (Widman) can carry us down the stretch of the season,” NC State coach George Tarantini said. His maturity, his leadership … He is great.”
After the second overtime ended in another stalemate, the Wolfpack put the Tar Heels on the ropes by jumping out to a 3-1 lead in the PK shootout. Widman – who had scored a PK goal himself one play earlier -- then made the save on an attempt by UNC All-ACC forward Billy Schuler, giving Alan Sanchez a chance to put the Wolfpack in the semifinals with a successful kick.
Sanchez did just that, sending a shot past Tar Heel keeper Brooks Haggerty for the clincher.
The Tar Heels (13-2-3) will now await word on their placement in next week’s NCAA Tournament. UNC entered Wednesday night’s match with a No. 4 RPI rating.
“It was obviously a tough, tough game for us,” said NC State coach Elmar Bolowich. “I think it was also a tough game for NC State. I don't blame our players for anything. They, gave their best effort. They faced a very strong and well organized opponent today. They made it difficult for us. In the end it was the team who capitalized on their opportunities the most and in PKs, NC State did that. So congratulations to them.”